Beer, Guns, Zombies and Madness
rating: +11+x

"Another cloudy day," Oliver thought to himself, as he opened the rusty metal door that connected the staircase to the rooftop of his home. Of course, it is quite unusual to call a dilapidated 25-story building in the middle of downtown Detroit a home, but things have been quite unusual for him for the past six years.

Oliver held the door so that Oliver could get on the rooftop. Thanking with a nod, the hallucination he called a friend walked straight until he reached the border of the area and looked down to see the destroyed buildings, burned down cars and, of course, the walking corpses that filled the streets. Oliver put his pack of "Imaginary Beer™" on the floor right next to him and sat on the edge of the rooftop, with his feet dangling above the empty space below.

Oliver approached his delusion, took his hunting rifle from his back and leaned it against the plastic chair, that was in the same spot it has always been: between the rainbow-colored parasol and the blue cooler box, filled with ice and real beer. He sat in the chair, took a handful of bullets from the plastic bag hanging from the parasol, and started putting them into the chamber of his gun.

"So…" fake Oliver said, while opening one of his fake bottles of fake beer with a fake bottle opener. "What's the plan for today?"

"Same as always. Shooting brains, drinking poison and talking to your stupid ass," real Oliver answered, cleaning the lens of the scope with his shirt.

"Ah, come on! I'm not that bad…" The fruit of his imagination laid on his back, waving his bottle in the air. "And I am literally part of you, after all."

Oliver took the piece of cloth that was on top of the cooler, spilled some oil on it and started rubbing the barrel of the gun. "We've been over this. I didn't want you here, but you popped out of nowhere anyway. I was fine, you know?"

"Well then, why don't you just make me disappear?" Oliver's imaginary friend stood up, took a sip from his bottle and started walking around his creator.

"I already answered you." He aimed at nothing to see if everything was in order. "I didn't want you here, you came by yourself, so I don't know how to make you go away."

"Wrong, my friend!" the other Oliver shouted, while hopping from a broken ventilation machinery to another. "I can't go away because you still need me! Really, no one can stay sane after mumbling to themselves for two years."

"And you call this sanity?" He stood up, and started walking to the edge of the rooftop.

"I mean, it's better than seeing you knocking your head against a wall or something," answered the hallucination quietly, while showing off his impossible juggling skills with a rock, a scrap of metal and his empty bottle.

"Yeah? Well, I can assure you that if this keeps going on for too long, I'll start considering hitting sturdy objects with my skull." He looked through the scope and started searching for a good target.

"See?" The imitation dropped the objects to the ground, with the exception of the bottle. "But it's not because of me, it's because of this little show you call a 'routine', it's making you forget about what really matters!"

"And what would that be?" Oliver asked, at the same time finding an undead clown with a pink wig and colorful oversized clothes.

"People, man!" The projection of his subconsciousness walked up to his side. "You know, social interactions, productive conversations, human touch… normal stuff."

"You know what happened the last time I've had 'social interactions'." He took the shot, but missed, hitting a stop sign.

"Ah, please, that doesn't count." Oliver's twisted version of himself looked down into the mob of brain eaters, raised the bottle above his head and threw it as hard as he could. As it was not real, the bottle just turned into dust midway through. "Their main objective was to rob and kill you, there was nothing you could do."

"Exactly, that's what people do nowadays, they rob and kill each other, all the time." He pulled and pushed the bolt of his rifle, releasing the empty case of the old bullet and chambering a new one in it. "I already told you once, I won't go around hoping I'm lucky enough to find someone that is willing to share their belongings instead of just taking mine."

"Oh, you don't know that!" said the weird figure, leaning down to get a new bottle of imaginary beer from the pack.

"Here we go again…" Oliver sighed, aiming again at the wasted clown.

"Yes, we'll do this again," the non-existant person started climbing one of the old television antennas with only one hand, "until you accept the fact that people are different. You have infinite leads, you just need to follow one of them."

"I have everything I need here." He pulled the trigger again, this time hitting a traffic cone that was right next to the target. "Food, water, power, a bed, entertainment… Hell, the only thing I could wish for is a dog."

"So what? You are stable and that's it?" The made-up emotional coach crossed his arms, outraged, still sitting on the dish of the antenna. "Do you really want to spend your whole life climbing stairs and wasting bullets?"

Oliver snorted in response, loading a new shell and aiming again at the silly zombie. Taking the shot one more time, he finally hit the clown. The bullet passed right through its head, landing on the asphalt. The monster turned into a pile of ashes, that flew away with the wind. "Yes!" thought Oliver, approaching the plastic chair to rest his legs and have a drink.

"Nice job!" The annoying lie jumped from the dish, gracefully landing on his feet. "Now you just have to do that another five thousand times!"

"Just shut up." Oliver opened the can, and immediately took a sip from it.

"My only reason to even be here is to get your ass out of this shithole. You just need to…"

"Hey, did you hear that?"

"You tell me, I can only hear what you hear."

The faint sound of metal chopping the wind in the distance started to get clear. Oliver jumped from his chair, grabbed his rifle, approached the edge of the rooftop and started looking around. Down the street, only a massive crater filled with rubble and trash, on the other side, nothing more than dilapidated buildings with overgrown vegetation on them.

"Do you think…"

"There!"

The flying steel beast came from behind the buildings in front of him, going over his head and disappearing in a matter of seconds. It was impossible to keep track of the helicopter as it crossed the taller constructions ahead. In six years the most significant human presence in the area was a group of four people with pipes and knives. A functional vehicle could only mean one thing: the army. He sighed in relief, still holding his gun tightly, and started to walk back to his seat.

"Really?" The personification of Oliver's madness frowned, and began walking towards him. "It was a fucking helicopter!"

"Yeah, I saw it. And you don't have to yell…"

"Yes I do! You know what that means!" The living shadow threw his empty bottle to the ground, which turned into a pile of ashes right before it could hit the concrete. "There is a chance, man, you just have to go for it!"

"Please, stop, you sound like a school teacher." He placed the rifle on top of the cooler box and looked up to see a flock of birds pass through the grey sky. "We don't know what happened to them. Maybe they went rogue and became a crazy militia, maybe they started a cannibalistic cult or they just don't want to talk to any foreigners."

"For God's sake!" The metaphysical clone kicked the beer pack, that fell off the edge of the building, eventually disappearing before hitting the ground. He raised his arms in disbelief, shocked by Oliver's stubborn behavior. "Help me out here, man. I am not asking you to become an astronaut, win a marathon or reinvent the wheel, I just want you to talk to people! This whole thing is killing you, first you made up that lizard…"

"Hey, I've never had a dog, okay? A lizard was the best I could do."

"That's not the point. You started imagining it, then you made me, and after that you created a whole population of undead! Do you see how stupid all of this sounds? You are wasting bullets, you are wasting time, you are wasting your life, man. You need to wake up, that's all I'm asking for." The consequence of prolonged isolation stood in front of the sad, tired man. "You've been recording their broadcasts for years now. What's the point of that if all you do is… this?"

"Fine. Fine! If I go there, take a look from a distance and come back, will you leave me alone?"

"You know I won't. You need to get in. You need to at least say 'hello' to someone."

"Fuck…"

"Just try. You can't do this forever."

"I'm scared…" Oliver whispered to himself, looking at a few roaches passing under his chair.

"What was that?"

"I'm scared! There, I said it!"

"So what? You dealt with worse things."

"That's the problem, I shot them that time, I don't want to do it again. I don't want to shoot nor get shot."

"But you can't just live your little fantasy here forever. You need to change. That is an issue you could not solve even before the plague hit the planet, and it just caused more problems."

"That's not fair!" Oliver punched the arm of the chair, that luckily didn't break.

"Life isn't fair, Ollie. You might hide in a shell, but the world keeps moving on, and all you do is ignore this fact. But your shell isn't invincible, man, at some point it will crack, and when that happens, there is no coming back. Do something, risk a little, live a little!"

"Go to hell."

"We're already in hell. Just go look around the camp, try to talk to them and that's it. Just like that, I'll be gone."

"You know what? Whatever. I'll go, okay? I'll check it out. Are you happy?"

"You could say that, yeah." The reflection of his despair smiled, walking to his side and manifesting an imaginary stool, which he sat on.

Oliver rested his back on the chair, looking at the building directly in front of them, across the street. The place was quiet for a while; only barks and gunshots could be faintly heard in the distance, until the torn billboard on top of the other building's rooftop started to screech for a few seconds. The metal frame twisted forward, until it finally fell towards the street, this time crashing on the asphalt, producing a loud sound that echoed across the entire region. Oliver's cheap rip-off of Wilson chuckled at the sad scene.

"I hate you."

"I know, Ollie. I know."

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